Kissimee & Miami, Florida 

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So in our “van”,  as they call the people carriers here, we set off to our 6 bedroom villa in Kissimee. We were only staying for 3 nights so Joe could see the new Harry Potter ride in Universal Studios, so it was a whistlestop tour.

The temperature outside was dropping the further away from Miami we got, the sky was getting darker. Great! It’s the rainy season in Florida in August so we knew we should expect some precipitation….it didn’t take long. When it rains over here it’s like someone throwing buckets of water down, it’s heavy and soaks you in seconds! Kev could hardly see the road. The signs on the side of the road said “when raining put your wipers on and burn your lights” 

Our villa was in a local neighbourhood surrounded by lakes, that we assume had alligators in as there were signs saying “no fishing, no swimming” and we spotted something about 4ft long floating on the top of the water, to then disappear. Alligators are all over Florida so you have to be extremely careful around all the little lakes they have.

The villa was huge, and on first views it looked lovely. On closer inspection it needed a bloody good clean! The pool area was filthy and the carpets looked like they hadn’t been vacuumed in weeks. I contacted the owner and got them to come back and re clean it. You can just see the colour of the floor on the photo below. What some people class as clean doesn’t pass in my books and it definitely didn’t impress Carol and Jeff. I know we’ve stayed in some “not so clean” places in Asia, but in Florida when you’ve paid a £90 cleaning fee…… according to Jeff it was “a sh*thole” lol. Not that bad by any means but you get the gist.

I’ve since put in a claim with airbnb for half the cleaning fee to be refunded …watch this space 

Anyway, you can’t come to America without a trip to Wallmart, and me and Carol managed to find one in nearly every place we visited haha. You can imagine what the men folk thought of this…Kev wasn’t too bad as he likes shopping but Jeff and Joe…. 😕. We left Jeff and Joe in the villa whilst Kev drove us to stock up with provisions for the next 3 days.    2.5 hours later we got back to the villa with food and beer and a pair of new flip flops each that I’d spotted for $2!!   Gotta love Wallmart 😂

We took a trip to Kissimee Old Town on the 192, as the Crangles hadn’t been there before. It’s somewhere different and beats the crowds of Disney. Just one street lined with shops, bars and the odd hair raising ride.

The Crangles hadn’t bought any tickets for Universal as they were hoping to grab a last minute bargain. The following day we headed off to Downtown Disney or Disney Springs as it’s now going to be called,  to have a wonder about and see if they could get some tickets. We haven’t been here for about 10 years so you can imagine how much it’s changed. It is a lovely place though and still under going new construction to make it bigger and better.

There is always a Rainforest Cafe in Disney and if you have never been in one,  you need to! It sells the obligatory steaks, burgers etc but the restaurant is done out like a rainforest with animated animals and every now and again a huge thunderstorm. It certainly gives you something to talk about whilst trying to fit the oversized burger in your mouth! 

Even the bar stools are animal themed…and no that isn’t me and Kev.. Although if we continue eating crap we could end the size of them! Lol

We spent a good couple of hours wandering around here but we didn’t manage to get any cheaper tickets than what was advertised so we set off back hoping to see some outlets that were offering discounted tickets. Kev, being the good person he is, took us to Walmart AGAIN to see if they sold them and kept stopping at the various places en route. They managed to find an offer but it involved spending 1.5 hours viewing a time share. For this they got 3 tickets for the price of 2….no brainer. 

All booked in for 7.45 the next morning to be picked up from the shop where they booked it. Kev offered to drive them there and said we’d need to set off by 7am to make allowances for early morning traffic.  Kev and Jo went off to watch American football whilst me, Carol and Jeff stayed home having dinner by the pool. 

Up bright and early the following day, me and Kev were going to Cocoa Beach after dropping the Crangles off at the pickup point for their day at Universal

After initial panic they finally got on the bus. They went through the motions of looking at a time share but told the sales staff  in no uncertain terms that they were only there for the free ticket and wouldn’t be buying any properties! Haha they’ve lived in Yorkshire that long they tell it how it is now.

We went off to Coco Beach. First stop IHOP for a belly busting brekki, then onto the white sands, calm waters of Coco…..or perhaps not! It was blowing up a sandstorm and the waters were brown, although it was still hot and sunny….for an hour and a half. Kev said it was like being at Scarborough.

We finished our day with a shopping trip to Lake Buena Vista Outlet. Got some birthday presents for Steph and headed back to the villa.

Kev offered to drive back the 20 miles to pick the rest of the gang up from Universal Studios. BIG mistake! Took us 2 hours there and back. Traffic was bad and trying to find someone when you don’t have internet and it costs a fortune to text is not good. They’d enjoyed their day though and it was cheaper than they thought they’d have to pay.

We drove back to Miami the following day and stayed at South Beach this time in another airbnb apartment close to the bay

We travelled like locals on the bus to get to downtown, had a walk around the waterfront before splitting up to do our own thing

A walk around the marina looking at the flashy boats, eating lunch watching the colourful fish eating plankton from the rocks, whilst feeling the sun on our body was heavenly.

There is an island in Miami called Fisher Island, it is only reachable by boat, is self sufficent and very exclusive. Tiger Woods has an apartment here, the buildings don’t look that spectacular from the outside but you need a few million to afford one! 

We made a quick stop to watch the local “wildlife” and to take in the last views of the deep blues and greens of the Miami coastline  before we leave this magical place. A slow but lengthy walk back to the apartment (we ealked!), packed our bags, sat and had a beer and up and off at 4 am the next morning. The Crangles were leaving later to head back to New York for a a night before they flew home

Miami you’ve been a blast…but time to move on! Grab your stetson and your cowboy boots we’re off to Texas!

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